Re: RARA-AVIS: Maltese Falcon

From: Patrick King (
Date: 21 May 2008

--- Aaron Finestone <> wrote:

> Beating up people because they are gay is evil. Sam
> Spade is evil. Unlike
> other Bogart characters, there is nothing heroic
> about him.
****************************************************** Wait a minute! In Spade's own words: "I should sit around and let people come in and stick me up?" These guys, whatever their sexual orientation may have been, continually threatened violence against Spade by the use of firearms. He could, as I would have, shot them both with their own guns. As it was, he smacked them around giving them good incentive not to do it again. I think he got through to Cairo. Wilmer was too psychotic for it to have had any impact on him. As for O'Shaughnessy being heterosexual, where do you get that? I'm not sure in the story there's sufficient evidence to declare that she "played on the pink team," but she hated men and used heterosexual allure solely to manipulate them.

If you found yourself mugged in the street, would you check to find out whether the mugger was gay or straight before you defended yourself?

I'm not saying Sam Spade is a "hero." Most of Bogart's best roles were not heroic, either. I'm thinking of THE PETRIFIED FOREST, THE TREASURE OF SIERRA MADRE, THE CAIN MUTINY. When the chips are down, though, Sam Spade is on the side of law and order. A gay criminal is still a criminal and being gay does not give you a pass if you elect to commit crime.

Patrick King


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